Theatre department’s ‘The Seagull’ takes flight

Becca Laird, a senior theatre arts, public relations and Spanish triple major, plays Nina in “The Seagull.” The play runs until March 6. Photo by Anne Schnabel.
Becca Laird, a senior theatre arts, public relations and Spanish triple major, plays Nina in “The Seagull.” The play runs until March 6. Photo by Anne Schnabel.

Bradley’s theatre department premiered “The Seagull” last night, its first mainstage production of the spring semester.

“The Seagull,” a play by Russian playwright Anton Chekov, centers on the romantic struggles of a variety of characters.

“It’s kind of insane to do a Chekov [play,]” director Susan Felder said. “You either have to do it really well, or you shouldn’t do it … It’s this insane reality. Most plays give you a story that you can understand, but this is good, and we like it because life is so complicated … This play recreates that. It tries to get uber real with the way people deal with each other.”

Bradley has produced two mainstage productions this academic year, including the fall musical
“High Fidelity” and the fall semester festival of one-act plays “Fall Forward.”

According to Felder, attendance was high for both of these shows. However, she said it is usually more difficult to get audience members to attend the first spring semester production.

“Last year at this time, we had ‘The Mountaintop,’ and we had really low attendance for that,” Felder said. “I thought it was a beautiful show, and the actors worked really hard at it, but because of this time slot, it’s a little tough.”

“The Seagull” features a cast of 13 students. Cody Cornwell, a junior theatre arts major, plays Borís Alexéyevich Trigórin, a famous writer.

“He’s a passionate man, very down to earth, but at times he can have his flights of fancy, as people will see,” Cornwell said. “Everybody in this play wants something, but I think he just wants to live his life the way he wants to.”

Katey Kraemer, a senior theatre arts major, plays Irína Nikoláyevna Arkádina, an actress. She said it’s sometimes difficult to promote theatre productions to campus.

“It’s hard to get college kids to shows these days for some reason,” Kraemer said. “Our closest friends and organizations [that] we’re a part of find out about these shows pretty easily because we promote it to them, but it is hard to really get the word out to everybody. We’ve been trying with social media and Facebook, but we’re hoping to get a good crowd.”

Felder said she believes “The Seagull” is a play that can reach a large audience, particularly one of college students.

“The cast is so committed to their roles [and] so committed to the craft of acting,” Felder said. We’re really getting into that … While the plot is interesting, and it’s about young love, and having to hide those secrets from other people and you’re having a terrible day and you don’t want anyone to know, the audience gets to know all those secrets … It’s crazy relatable for college students.”

Cornwell said he also believes “The Seagull” will be relatable to the general audience.

“Everybody’s kind of searching for the right person [in the play],” Cornwell said. “There’s a major theme of love, which I think everybody in general can relate to … It’s a play that is very close to life.”

“The Seagull” runs until March 6, with evening showings at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinee showings at 2:30 p.m. Tickets for Bradley students are $5.